business proposals

How to Write Powerful Business Proposals That Get Orders

By Marsha Kelly

Penning a business proposal can be frustrating, but ultimately it is necessary, as a well-written one can help your business thrive. The people who will view your proposal have been through pages and pages of similar pitches before, so how can you make yours stand out?

This guide will detail the vital elements of a winning business proposal, as well as the process of drafting compelling proposals.

Know Your Proposal Client

The first component to focus on is your target audience. Understand the issues that they need addressed, and write your content with them in mind. A good business proposal should always focus on the client and the problems they may be faced with. Think about the solutions to these problems that you can provide for them, keeping in mind appropriate pricing.

You can reach out to the client for more information if need be. One thing you should not do is draft a document you are unsure of. Think of your business proposal as a written form of a killer sales script.

Know Your Business Objectives

Ensure you are addressing the vital objectives of your business as you pen a proposal. The way you write the proposal should strike a balance between addressing the concerns of a potential client and promoting your organization.

A business proposal should not be confused with a business plan. The former is tailored to meet the particular needs of a potential customer, while the latter defines the structure of your firm.

Before drafting your business proposal, you should have satisfactory answers to the queries below:

  • What jobs need to be done?
  • Which employees will do each task, and who will supervise the entire workload?
  • The pricing of the job?
  • Where the tasks will be delivered?
  • When it will be completed?
  • What capabilities make you the best option for the needs of the client?
  • How you will go about the job?

If you want to write an accurate proposal, you will need the answers to the questions above. In this way, you will ensure that the document communicates clearly to the client why your firm is the unrivaled fit for the job.

How to Write a Great Business Proposal

A business proposal should be approached as a step-by-step process, as a reliable structure will help you draft compelling proposals each time you are pitching to a client. These steps include the following:

Introduction

Your business proposal should open with a concise overview of the business your firm is involved in, why it stands out from the competition, and why it is best suited for the job. This section should not overwhelm the client with information. Be brief, and keep the introductionon one page.

Executive Summary

The executive summary represents the elevator pitch for your firm. It minimizes all of the essential details of your business plan into one section. It answers the who, what, where, when and why questions, and communicates to the customer that you understand them.

Look at your executive summary as your sales pitch, where you need to be as convincing as you can be as to why the client should give you business. Touch on your strengths and expertise, similar jobs you have completed, and the aspects that make you better than your competitors. Your client wants to know that you will help their businesses thrive.

Project Assessment

In this section, you will expound on how you will address the client’s project, anddescribe the scope of the job. Open this section with solutions or recommendations for servicing the customer, and aim to be as detailed as possible. Make the solutions easy to understandby listing them down.

Be exhaustive by listing the benefits of your recommendations, since there may be multiple ways of solving a problem. Such benefits can include innovation and cost efficiency. The client should feel like you have crafted this proposal just for them, and that they can trust you.

Schedule and Milestones

This section is where you lay out a task schedule and manage the expectations of the client. It is mainly preliminary information subject to future changes, but it gives the client proposed deliverables.

These deliverables should be given with in-depth descriptions, and include the quantities or scope in the case of services. The inclusion of thesedetails ensures that you do not under-deliver to the client.

This is also the section where you restrict the terms, conditions, and scope of your participation. It is a good move if you foresee a situation where the work you will do will lead to additional responsibilities not spelled out in the agreement.

To be more specific, include milestones, either independently or with the deliverables. Milestones can cover delivery dates for a product or the day you send a design draft.

Funding

The financial budget is among the most important elements of your business proposal. You will need to balance the value you are providing along with your worth, while not discouraging a potential customer or overpricing in comparison to your competitors.

You can break down the individual elements of the budget if you are afraid that the total fee might seem high to the client.

The client will want to know if they can afford your product/service, so the pricing element, though daunting, is necessary. You may also want to include an allowance for unforeseen circumstances in the estimate. Accommodate factorslike labor, supply, maintenance, and start-up costs.

Conclusion

The conclusion features a brief project statement based on your understanding of the job, proposed recommendations, and the budget. It is your last chance to prove why you are well-suited to handle the client’s needs, and why your firm reigns supreme over its competitors.

As a business owner, you need to master the art of drafting outstanding business proposals to attract lucrative deals for your venture. A good business proposal is direct and brief, telling the reader the essentials and exactly what they need to know to make an informed decision.

Business proposals must be specific to each client, so be sure to write for your intended audience. Your proposal should leave zero room for interpretation by avoiding language which may breed ambiguity. Drop the industry jargon favor of a more readable report, and take your business to the next level.

Featured photo credit: Depositphotos
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Marsha Kelly
Marsha Kelly sold her first business for more than a million dollars. She has shared hard-won experiences as a successful serial entrepreneur on her Best4Businesses blog, where she also regularly posts business tips, ideas, and suggestions as well as product reviews for business readers. As a serial entrepreneur who has done “time” in corporate America, Marsha has learned what products and services really work well in business today. You can learn from her experiences to build your business.

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